Parts of region put under “Code Orange Air Quality Alert” Thursday


TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) – A third straight day of record breaking heat put parts of the region under a “Code Orange Air Quality Alert” on Thursday.

Several counties under the alert were Washington County Tennessee and Virginia, Sullivan, Carter, Unicoi, Hawkins and Scott County.

According to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, high pressure and an upper level ridge over Tennessee caused stagnating air, which led to increased ozone levels.

TDEC says ozone levels did decrease to moderate levels around 2 p.m.

Although the general public is not expected to be affected during a “Code Orange Air Quality Alert,” Dr. Reid Blackwelder with East Tennessee State University said that children, older adults and people with lung disease are at a high risk on days like this.

“Best ideas are if you can avoid going outside, on days where you might be at risk, right now those with lung disease, try not to do so,” he said. “If you have to go out, go out in the early morning or late afternoon because the sun brings out a lot of ozone and makes it harder.”

“Staying hydrated is very important and also if you have a known lung disease,” he added, “most people have what’s called an asthma action plan and it’s a really good idea to make sure you got your medications, you know what you are looking for and be prepared just in case you start having trouble.”

TDEC said tomorrow ozone levels are expected to drop, but stil may fall in the range that is “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

Generally, air quality alerts are uncommon for the Tri-Cities and are more prevalent in urban areas.

They are also more prevalent during the summer months.

Stay up to date on air quality alerts and the latest forecasts with Storm Team 11.

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